Intel's P35 Express chipset has been a revelation for the Core 2 platform, delivering the same excellent performance, low power consumption, and generous overclocking headroom of more expensive X38 and X48 variants at a much lower cost. Or at only a slightly lower cost, depending on whether you prefer your motherboard loaded with more frills and extras than the spawn of Pimp My Ride. But that's the beauty of the P35; it's equally capable of powering mainstream desktops, high-end gaming rigs, and the sort of balanced best-bang-for-your-buck systems that enthusiasts tend to build.
If you've been around for long enough, the P35's success should come as no surprise. Intel's mid-range chipsets have been consistently solid year after year, establishing a virtual dynasty in an industry that doesn't always look kindly upon incumbents. It's no wonder, then, that expectations are high for the P35's successor, the new P45 Express.
Intel hasn't messed with the formula much for the P45, but there are a few new tricks up its sleeve. A redesigned memory controller promises to take better advantage of processors with 1333MHz front-side bus speeds, for example. Second generation PCI Express connectivity has also been added to the mix along with a more balanced approach to CrossFire configurations. And ever the efficient manufacturer, Intel has managed to shrink the whole thing down on a 65nm fabrication process.